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TU’s accounting and business advisory services M.S. receives STEM designation

Program emphasizes the growing role of technology and data analytics in the accounting profession

Towson University’s accounting and business advisory services master’s degree earned designation as a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program from the Maryland Higher Education Commission. This designation serves as a recognition that the courses in the curriculum reflect what students need to be successful in the accounting industry today and in the future.

This designation recognizes the program’s emphasis on the growing role of technology and data analytics in the accounting profession.

“As the accounting profession has evolved, technology has played an increasingly important role in professional practice,” said Dr. Charles Russo, associate professor of Accounting and director of the M.S. in Accounting and Business Advisory Services at Towson University. “Data analytics with the use of technology pushes the profession toward higher order thinking skills.”

The program’s updated curriculum reflects the evolving demands of the profession.

The landscape of accounting services is being fundamentally reshaped by technological advancements, data analytics, and the rise of generative AI. The STEM designation highlights TU’s commitment to equipping the next generation of accountants with the modern skills they need to be successful in the profession.

A key advantage of the TU program is that it’s offered jointly by Towson University and the University of Baltimore, a partnership which began in 2004. The joint program allows students to enroll in accounting courses at both universities and offers a flexible format, including courses offered online and on-campus, making it ideal for working professionals seeking to advance in their careers.

The new designation gives international students the benefits of optional practical training (OPT) eligibility and an additional 24 months of United States residency with the STEM OPT extension on their visas. Towson University also offers a five-year accelerated dual degree in accounting (B.S.) and accounting and accounting and business advisory services (M.S.), which allows international undergraduate students to be eligible for OPT if they choose to add on the master’s degree.

Learn more about the accelerated dual degree in accounting and business advisory services

Towson University’s accounting programs emphasize high-quality academics and applied learning. In this program, students learn advanced skills in applied information technology, finance, and other relevant areas. Towson University is accredited by AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), the highest standard for business education.

With a STEM-designated degree, students can expect hands-on learning experiences with real-world application, a high return-on-investment; and higher pay scales, job availability and longevity when entering STEM-oriented positions.

Learn more about TU’s M.S. in Accounting and Business Advisory Services program and the College of Business and Economics.


MentHER program receives recognition for empowering students throughout Baltimore

College of Business & Economics’ program makes a difference for women in business


Towson University’s MentHER program in the College of Business & Economics (CBE) received the 2024 Inspiring Programs in Business Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education. The award honors colleges and universities that encourage and assist students from underrepresented groups to enter the field of business. TU is featured, along with 27 other recipients, in the April 2024 issue of the magazine.

The MentHER program connects professional businesswomen with CBE sophomores in one-on-one mentoring relationships, who in turn mentor high school students within Baltimore. Program content focuses on financial literacy, career planning and life and workplace skills through guided discussions, workshops, mentoring sessions and presentations.

“This recognition attests to our success in empowering women not only at TU but in high schools throughout Baltimore,” says Lauren Tigue Meredith, professional development partner in CBE and facilitator for the MentHER program. “The relationships these women build through one-on-one mentoring prepares them for their academic and career journeys.”

Insight Into Diversity magazine selected the MentHER program in CBE at Towson University because it combines networking and mentorship among women to support the growth, education and empowerment of college and high school students in the Baltimore area. Combining evidence-based practices for mentorship programming, the program has proven success in preparing participants for a career. In fact, 67% of participants had more confidence with their career plan after participating.

“Our goal at TU is to help all our students succeed in college and beyond graduation, and the MentHER program supports this goal,” says Aneil Mishra, dean of the College of Business & Economics. “This program grows personal and professional networks for students by meeting and building connections with other supportive women. It provides the foundation for identifying and advancing the essential components for students’ future success.”

Inspiring Programs in Business Award winners were selected by Insight Into Diversity based on efforts to inspire and encourage a new generation of young people to consider careers in business through mentoring, teaching, research and successful programs and initiatives.

“We know many business programs are not always recognized for their success, dedication and mentorship for underrepresented students,” says Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of Insight Into Diversity magazine. “We want to honor the schools and organizations that have created programs that inspire and encourage young people who may currently be in or are interested in a future career in business. We are proud to honor these programs as role models to other institutions of higher education and beyond.”

For more information about the 2024 Inspiring Programs in Business Award, visit

For media inquiries, email Jamie Abell at .

About Towson University
Towson University is Maryland’s university of opportunities. With more than 150 years of experience pushing possibilities, TU is a nationally recognized leader in inclusive excellence, social mobility, research and discovery. As the largest university in greater Baltimore, TU’s momentum is always accelerating, with nearly 20,000 students and 200 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences and applied professional fields. Located amid one of the East Coast’s cultural and economic epicenters, TU is a beacon and powerful catalyst in the Mid-Atlantic, partnering with hundreds of businesses and organizations, impacting communities and fueling change. TU meets the holistic needs of each student to achieve success, a result of a deeply inclusive culture with a focus on equity among all students, faculty and staff.

About INSIGHT Into Diversity
INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education today and is known for its annual INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, the only award that recognizes colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses. Insight Into Diversity magazine presents timely, thought-provoking news and feature stories on matters of diversity and inclusion in higher education and beyond. Articles include interviews with innovators and experts, as well as explorations of best practices and profiles of exemplary programs. On our Career Center, readers will also discover career opportunities that connect job seekers with institutions and businesses that embrace a diverse and inclusive workforce. Current, archived, and digital issues of Insight Into Diversity magazine are available online at

CBE’s MentHER Program Hosts Pitch the Purse Event

Is it possible to make a purse out of scraps? For the creative students in the MentHER group, it is. 

Purses made by Lansdowne High School students using various materials such as boxes, fabric scraps, and egg cartons. 

This semester, MentHER hosted Lansdowne High School at the Sandbox in Hawkins Hall for a “Pitch the Purse” event. Using recycled items such as egg cartons, fabric scraps, and ribbon, students were tasked to construct a purse as well as the contents inside. Students were given an hour to design, construct, and pitch their purse to the group. After the pitch, students received feedback on how to improve their business acumen going forward. 

“MentHER provided us a space at “Pitch the Purse to guide and collaborate with women with a fun project but also observe their impressive business knowledge as high school students,” shared project management & business analysis student Sadie Barrett. 

The Pitch the Purse event aimed to instill teamwork, innovative thinking, collaboration, and confidence in the students through providing unusual materials and minimal directions. By doing so, students had the opportunity to push themselves in a real-world simulation of the creation and pitching process. Pitch the Purse embraces the idea that failing forward can bring the best innovation. 

Students working together to pitch their purse to the rest of the group.

Lansdowne High School students extended these ideas during the event. Students made quick decisions and bartered for better materials, building business confidence, and overcoming stereotypes of women in business being “bossy” in the workplace by expressing themselves. Students also expressed great teamwork, as they not only worked together on the creation of the purses but opted to all pitch take turns while pitching their ideas, building upon their collaboration and public speaking skills. 

MentHER is a “lift as you rise” program that combines networking and mentorship opportunities among women to support the growth, education, and empowerment of College of Business & Economics students and high school students in the Baltimore area. The program works to connect professional businesswomen with 1:1 mentoring relationships with CBE students, who in turn mentor students at Lansdowne High School. 

During this event, CBE MentHER members were on hand to give guidance and support to the Lansdowne High School students. MentHER members offered their leadership to the high school students to help them gain the confidence to take on the task themselves, despite the time constraints and minimal direction. 

“I feel that the event served as a great opportunity to get a feel for “hands off” leadership as it related to teamwork because, while I played a supporting role in the activity, it was really the high school students who made most of the decisions on how they wanted to design their purse and what they wanted their pitch for it to be” explains Jeannie Rowe, a human resource management student in CBE. 

Pitch the Purse aimed to teach innovative thinking, collaboration, and confidence. This bag made by Lansdowne High School students was made with a box and string. 

MentHER empowers women by providing mentoring in financial literacy, career planning, and life and workplace skills. The MentHER program also builds college and career readiness by bringing Lansdowne High School students to the TU campus and gives them access to college facilities. “MentHER openly talks about advantages and disadvantages of being a woman in the workplace, so it is important for us to work together, and know that we can support each other,” said Chloe Gladson, a marketing concentration student. 

MentHER continues to impact women within multiple stages of their lives to gain the business skills and confidence they will need to further their careers. MentHER gives women a space that they do not normally receive in the business world and allows them to expand their knowledge and future careers in an area where they are not commonly in power. As described by Rowe, “the program not only allows young adult women to inspire women younger than them, but it also allows for young women to be inspired by and develop professional relationships with women in the business world.”

CBE Announces New Master’s Program in Economic Analytics

The College of Business and Economics is proud to announce the approval of a new M.S. in Economic Analytics at Towson University. In this master’s program, students will use economic theory, econometrics and data science to understand how laws, policies, and other interventions impact people’s lives. The program will soft launch  in Fall 2023, allowing current Towson University undergrads to take courses in the master’s program as part of an accelerated bachelor’s to master’s program. The full launch will take place in Fall 2024, with applications opening September 15, 2023, at which point anyone will have the opportunity to apply for the program, including international students. 

Dr. Finn Christensen, professor in the Economics Department and the program director, took the lead in bringing the program to fruition, with the support of Dr. Melissa Groves and Dr. Herbert Zhao. TU’s program differs from those offered by other universities in the region. “Our economics program is the first in the area to combine data science and econometrics as part of the standard curriculum,” Dr. Christensen said.“The program can be completed in 16 months whereas most programs in the area are 2-year programs.”

The program will not only present opportunities for students in the area, but also faculty. While existing faculty can teach all the courses in the program, this will take them away from existing responsibilities, so up to two new professors will be hired to fill the gap.

It will take students up to 16-months to complete the 33 credit hours required to graduate from the program. The content will focus on applied microeconomics, with an emphasis on data analysis. The program will be offered face-to-face and full-time attendance is optimal – however, the program can be completed on a part-time basis. Students who have recently graduated with an undergraduate degree are encouraged to consider the new program, particularly those in majors such as Economics, Business Administration, Accounting, or any quantitative major such as computer science, math or physics. Students will acquire job-relevant skills such as Stata, R, and Python without needing prior knowledge in the topics. Mid-career professionals and those seeking to later complete a Ph.D. in economics or a related field are welcome. The career prospects upon graduation include roles as a data analyst, an economist, or a statistician. These positions are well paid with average salaries in excess of $80K and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported median pay in 2019 for those with a masters degree in Economics of $105,020. Due to the fact the program is a STEM-designated degree, students on an F-1 visa will be eligible for up to 3 years of OPT after graduation through the STEM OPT extension. For domestic students, this designation signals rigorous preparation to potential employers.

We’re very excited to provide students with the opportunity to earn a STEM designated MS degree in Economic Analytics at TU,”  said Dr. Judy Harris, Interim Dean in the College of Business and Economics. “This is a growing field and with hands-on application of data analysis techniques like the modeling of big data and machine learning, graduates will be well suited to meet the evolving needs of employers in the region.”

BATM Junior Becomes First TU Student to Pass the Expert Level Exam in Excel

Jeremy Hotchkiss, a Business Systems & Processes and Investments Major, is set to graduate with both an Associate and Expert level certification in Excel

As a junior Business Systems & Processes major, Jeremy Hotchkiss took the Associate Level Exam in Excel – a requirement for the program. After passing this exam with flying colors, Hotchkiss decided to take his knowledge in Excel a step further and sit for the Expert Level Exam. Hotchkiss aced the exam with a perfect score of 1,000. Hotchkiss’ success not only highlights his tremendous work ethic but earns him the honor of being the first Towson University student to graduate with both an Associate and Expert level certification for the spreadsheet system.

Microsoft Office offers two exams for those looking to get certified in the program: the Associate Level Exam and the Expert Level Exam. While the Associate Level Exam in Excel focuses on measuring competency in creating and managing Excel worksheets, the Expert Level Exam focuses on managing professional spreadsheets to enhance productivity and meet project needs in a workplace setting. As Hotchkiss is expected to graduate in winter 2024 with his degree in business systems & processes and investments, it is crucial to understand how to implement Excel within the workplace.

“By earning an Expert Level certification, Jeremy has demonstrated to all prospective employers that he has a unique set of analytical skills and capabilities,” says professor Lynnwood Cook of the Department of Business Analytics & Technology Management. “His future employer will also be pleased to learn that he scored a perfect score on the exam.”

When asked how these exams have prepared him for his future career, Hotchkiss emphasized having confidence in the tools of the program. “This exam will have provided me the knowledge and know-how to give me a better footing when it comes to database and data analysis,” he said.

Hotchkiss was able to reach this milestone through consistent studying and practice, such as completing practice tests provided by GMetrix, a certification preparation resource. “Once I had covered that, I went back to the concept sheet that laid out the potential concepts that were going to be covered on the exam,” Hotchkiss said.

Prior to Hotchkiss’ success with the Expert Level Exam, he also passed the MOS Certification Exam, exceeding the benchmark of 950 with a score of 962. Due to this achievement, the total cost of Hotchkiss’ participation in the Expert Level exam, including his GMetrix training materials, was funded by Certiport, a certification exam provider dedicated to helping people succeed through certification.

For students who are considering taking the Expert Level Exam in Excel, Hotchkiss emphasizes the importance of having a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the concepts in the Associate Level Exam, along with the new content of the Expert Level Exam.

“About a third of the Expert Exam version I completed contained concepts from the Associate Level exam. Future Excel Exam test takers should study the concepts in depth. The rest of the exam was completely new stuff that the Associate level did not cover,” said Hotchkiss.

Through this endeavor, Hotchkiss expanded his knowledge of Excel and prepared himself for a successful future. “Although Excel isn’t the most exciting subject, taking this exam opened my eyes to many new functions and such that I never knew Excel could complete or run.”

This achievement not only highlights Hotchkiss’ talents, but also opens the door to other students within the College of Business & Economics to consider going beyond the Associate Level Exam and aim for additional certifications that could set them apart from the pack when applying for jobs in their desired fields.

“Excel is a powerful tool for data visualization and data analytics,” said Dr. Chaodong Han, the chair of the Department of Business Analytics & Technology. “Students graduating with Excel proficiency and certification will gain a clear edge in a competitive job market.”

The College of Business & Economics celebrates Hotchkiss’ success and the opportunities these certifications will give Hotchkiss in his future career.